Attested Development

Reviewer Discretion

Arrested DevelopmentWith the fourth season released thus completing the long-awaited return of a fan favorite, we are now faced with all the things we are both happy and unhappy with about the latest installments of Arrested Development. I’m not going to try to convince anyone that the newest episodes are as good or better than the old episodes. These episodes offer their own charm and their own problems.

The same crafted humor and layered set-ups that made the original series classic are still there. Old jokes and gags are used just as well as they were previously. Along with the old, new gaffs as well as new tie-ins to old ones are riddled throughout. Almost the entire ensemble of characters makes at least a cameo return. Some memorable characters have larger roles than others and some go almost unnoticed except to a keen eye.

The problems start to become apparent with…

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Past Effect

One of my favorite series in video games.

Reviewer Discretion

Mass EffectWhy post about a game that was released in 2007? Because it’s a great game. Plus, I just finished playing it….again….twice. The reason? I wanted to play the PlayStation 3 version. Mass Effect was originally released as an Xbox 360 exclusive. The Mass Effect universe did not appear on the PlayStation 3 until after the initial release of Mass Effect 2. Then Mass Effect 3 was released on both platforms simultaneously. Finally, the original Mass Effect was released to PlayStation gamers.

This was strictly a port and re-release. This was not an HD remake like other games have had. You will still encounter glitches but that is inherent in any game. One of the funnier ones that seems to happen a lot is when you or a teammate get caught in an environmental object and start convulsing and jittering as if you just smoked crack while in the midst of…

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Grandma’s Joy

Reviewer Discretion

Grandma's BoyHollywood can’t seem to make a decent movie based on a video game but a movie about people who make video games is another story. Grandma’s Boy was released in 2006 and quickly disappeared from the theaters. Although the box office numbers don’t look good, the movie has gone on to becoming somewhat of a cult classic.

Alex, Allen Covert, is a video game programmer that ends up moving in with his grandmother because his roommate was spending their rent money on Filipino hookers. The entire movie is constructed of zany happenings and antics such as this. The movie follows Alex as he tries to not let people know he lives with his grandmother and maintain his job. There is a love interest in the movie for Alex but don’t worry about this movie being a romance film, it is pure comedy.

The movie holds up to this day because of…

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Fast & Furious Sux: The Game

Reviewer Discretion

ff6Do you like cars? Do you like fast cars? Do you like cars racing? Do you like loose plots of people racing cars and fighting crime? Then you are a Fast & Furious fan. While you wait for the sixth movie to arrive, take some time to download this game but set your expectations appropriately.

Let’s take a look at the good and the bad things about the game.

Good things – it’s free, great graphics, and good controls. The base game is free but it uses micro-transactions(more on that later). I played this game on an iPad 3 and was very impressed by the quality of the graphics. Every car looks exactly like its real world counterpart and as you add upgrades the detail is shown every time you race. You don’t steer your car in this game. The game is based on drag racing so your controls are…

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Lust In Translation

Reviewer Discretion

lostinTake one of the great character actors of his time, pair him with an up and coming starlet, put them in a foreign land, and you get a great movie. A rare combination of things that shouldn’t fit but happened to come together and create an unexpected gem. It’s not for everyone though, it is a somewhat a of a romance story but not too much. The story is more about two people at different points in their life both feeling lost.

The movie is set in Japan with Bill Murray as Bob Harris, a washed up movie actor, there to do an ad campaign for a whiskey. Scarlett Johansson, as Charlotte,  is in the country with her husband who is a photographer. They happen to be staying in the same hotel and end up meeting by chance. Skipping most of the details of the plot, they end up spending…

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A Revisited Development

arresteddIf you don’t know what is happening on May 26th then maybe this post isn’t for you. Of course, I write of the Netflix exclusive release of Arrested Development’s fourth season. It’s been ten years since the series began and seven since it came to its broadcast end. Ever since, there has been a swell of anxious demand, unfounded rumors, and disbelief. Time after time there were announcements that the series was finally making a comeback. So much so that I didn’t believe Netflix had actually pulled it off when they announced it. Only when the cast and crew starting making reports and posting pictures of the filming did I finally believe.

I found that the most reasonable way to prepare for this was to watch the existing three seasons from beginning to end. I laughed again at all the classic lines, such as – “There’s always money in the banana stand”, “Bees?!?”, “Mr. Manager”, “Hermano”, and “I’ve made a huge mistake”. I found that I saw even more of the inside jokes, running gags and comedic foreshadowing than ever before. Apparently I was too busy laughing all the other times I watched the show to pick up on all the little nuances and I still doubt that I’ve discovered them all even now. It even sparked a conversation with a friend of how much of the series was scripted out past its run that they had to be wrapped up prematurely. I can only guess that the writers had an additional two seasons already written that they had to abandon and write what is most obviously a forced ending to the show’s original run.

If you have Netflix then you have the new season available to you all in smorgasbord format upon its release. Get ready to gorge yourself on the return of the Bluth family. But after all these years it is hard to tell if the effort will meet anybody’s expectations but any true fan should be extremely happy to see something they love comeback. My bigger concern is if Netflix’s network will be able to handle the load when the release happens. I suspect that there will be a large amount of viewer’s trying to access this show as soon as it arrives. The other test might be how many times everybody can hit refresh while waiting for Netflix to post the episodes.

Transformers Prime Rib

20130515-034337.jpgI am long time Transformers fan. Back in the long ago, I had as many of the toys I could manage to get my family to buy. I waited for and watched every episode of the original cartoon series. I even had some of the comic books. I even remember seeing the animated movie at the theater when it was released.

The fact that this series of cartoons existed was not news to me but I never got to see any of it until recently when Netflix dropped the first two seasons on me. Of all the good things I heard about this particular series, I can agree with all of them. The series has its own story arc. So expect to see some familiar faces and new characters. Also, expect to see some twist and variations on established characters and even some story lines.

The story line of the series seems both well developed and written. Being a fan of the older series did cause some anxiety at points when you had to suspend your knowledge of how you’ve seen familiar situations work out. The voice casting truly compliments the writing. There were a lot of voices that you know and a few you can recognize. Peter Cullen plays Optimus Prime as well as ever but makes you wonder what will come of the role when he can no longer voice it.

My only disappointment is the fact that Netflix does not have the entire series available. Going back and seeing a new version of an old favorite left me wanting for more. Hopefully Netflix can secure the remaining episodes in the near future so I can complete my meal of this fine series.

The Least Stand

the-last-standIf you are excited to see Arnold making movies again you may want to keep waiting. Bare in mind that Mr. Schwarzenegger hasn’t made a full movie since he took time out to run California for a few years. Sure he was in Expendables 2 but his performance was little more than an extended cameo.

This movie is based around a small town on the Mexican border that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the sheriff of. The rest of the movie’s story line is choppy at best. They attempt to the make the sheriff a former agent of a higher level  government agency but they tried to play coy about it and not truly give all the details. This was a poor attempt to add some intrigue to the character that really had no place in the movie and did not need to be there. Trouble brews for the town as news of an escaped son of a Mexican drug lord is heading to the town to use it as his crossing into Mexico and ultimately his freedom. How prey tell will this Mexican drug lord make it through the town? He’s driving a really fast car!!! I wish that was something I was writing as a joke but that is the actual story of the movie. Apparently highway patrol and all other agencies in this part of the country are not capable of creating a road block. The movie works so badly that in one scene the Fed’s are talking over how to catch him and one of them suggests a helicopter. To which another agent states that the car is just too fast to be caught by a helicopter. This is silly enough to try to believe but it is totally ruined a few scenes later when they have a helicopter following almost right on top of the car. If that weren’t bad enough, it goes further into stupidity. Mind you it is the dark of night in the desert at this point and to evade the helicopter, the drug lord employs the most devious of tactics – he turns off the headlights!!! Seriously, I didn’t make that up. I won’t go into all the places where the plots is broken or just doesn’t work because I don’t I have that kind of time.

Movies that have a lot of big names or at least recognizable faces always cause instant concern and this movie was no different. There are plenty of actors that you know by name or have seen in other films. Apparently, this movie is just another example that aggregating talent does not make anything better. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting was right on par with what I expected. He has the same dry delivery of bad one-liners that he has and always will. The rest of the cast seemingly chose to turn their abilities down either to make his look better or they were just a confused by the plot as I was. I know Johnny Knoxville isn’t going to win many awards but I think everybody in this movie has earned a Razzie.

Every actor has made bad movies and I do mean “movies”. I hope this was one to get the cobwebs off and get back in form. If you choose to watch this movie be prepared to shake your head in both disgust and confusion, sometimes at the same time. I happen to have watched this movie at a friend’s house. He fell asleep about fifteen minutes in and I think he had the better time of it.

Jeers of War Judgement

gearsjudgementI regret to inform you that paying full price for this game is a mistake. I write this post several months after the launch of this game and still have a mix of satisfaction and angst. This game was a pre-order from my local GameStop for the full retail price of $60(as of 5/2/2012 it is still $49.99 according to Amazon.com).

Keep in mind that this game was a prequel to the franchise to which part of its name comes from. Do your research before you wade into the game and understand that there will be no Dom or Marcus(except for the brief cameo appearance via radio chatter).  Perhaps the removal of Horde mode will be something else you want to consider. If you know and accept these things ahead of time you’ll be better prepared because you don’t want to set yourself up for any further disappointment.

Being a Gears fan and having played all of the previous games, I was exited when this game was announced and remained so through its release. The graphics in the game are very good for an Xbox game. There is a slight change to the standard button layout but given the modifications to the combat and grenades it works well once you get acquainted with it. What brought my excitement to an end, oddly enough, was the end of the game. No, the problem was not with the story’s plot or conclusion as I felt that it was very well written and paced but rather with its brevity. The main campaign can be finished in about five hours. If you include the final chapter that is unlocked, you could say six hours. I can’t include it, however, since this chapter is actually a chapter that was missing from Gear of War 3. Although this chapter may have been the best one of the game and made me reminiscent of Gears of War 3, it left me thinking – why wasn’t this chapter part of Gears of War 3 where is belonged? Why was Raam’s Shadow not part of Gears of War: Judgement instead?

My time with this game was well spent. I did not spend much time with the multi-player but that was something I expected. Horde was my favorite Gears mode and I knew it wouldn’t be there. I tried the new modes they introduced as replacements but just could not stay interested. If you wait for this game to be about $20 new or used pick it up. It’s worth that to see more of the Gears story if you are a fan.